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Michael Chiarello Somehow Continues to Build His Napa Empire With Coqueta Outpost

It will operate in his now-closed burger joint, Platform 8, in Yountville


Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello is planning to open another outpost of his San Francisco waterfront restaurant Coqueta in Napa, taking over the extremely failed location of his burger spot, Platform 8.

Platform 8, which was plagued by bad reviews for both service and food until it closed earlier this year, opened in December 2017, in the wake of the #MeToo movement hitting the hospitality industry, which prompted a reckoning with rampant sexual harassment and abuse in the restaurant world. Chiarello was accused of sexual harassment at the original Coqueta in 2015; in a lawsuit that was settled out of court later that year, he and executive chef Dominick Maietta were accused by employees of sexual harassment, racism, and wage theft.

While some industry figures accused of harassment, including Mario Batali, have divested from their empires, Chiarello has continued to open new businesses and operate as before. (Oakland chef Charlie Hallowell has also opened a new restaurant following accusations, though he was forced to address those allegations publicly, selling two of his restaurants to former employees.) In addition to Platform 8, shortly after the settlement, Chiarello moved forward with the planned opening of his “Eataly-style” marketplace, cafe, and mozzeria, Ottimo, which seems to be operating unscathed.

Coqueta Napa Valley appears to be a duplicate of its SF sibling — an easy bet, as it continues to draw in diners seemingly untroubled by the woes of its chef-owner and executive chef Maietta, who continues to lead the kitchen there. There’s no word on how the restaurant will function in the small space, which operated as a counter-service restaurant during the reign of Platform 8, though it does have an ample patio to replicate the SF location’s outdoor vibes.

A job listing for a line cook reads: “Currently a staple on Pier 5 in San Francisco, Coqueta means ‘flirt’ or ‘infatuation’ in Spanish, and represents an interpretation of Spanish Cuisine, wine and inspired cocktails, while highlighting the bounty of Northern California.” Job requirements include “Must be professional and respectful to others. NO EGOS. Maintain a positive and professional approach with coworkers and customers.” It’s far cry from the “hiring requirements” alleged in the 2015 lawsuit: “[Chiarello] directed COQUETA managers to employ the following hiring policy: “If you don’t want to f—k them, don’t hire them.”

Eater has reached out for more details.


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